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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Local Liege

I enjoyed a wonderful Liege waffle while visiting Denver a while back, and lament the fact that they aren't as prevalent to find in Houston. After all, a well made liege waffle not only requires special equipment (the Belgian style waffle iron) but also special ingredients (pearl sugar) and a modification of the quick leavened waffle batter (a yeast raised wet dough). I did have the opportunity to sample two specimens in Houston recently, however.

One of the newfangled "gourmet food trucks", The Waffle Bus dedicates its menu to waffle sandwiches (which ostensibly use waffles as the platform to stuff items therein), but during my visit, they offered Liege waffles as a special (with "imported sugar"). I ordered one for $5.

A liege waffle from the Waffle Bus.
Just from the picture, I can tell at least two things wrong: as a waffle containing lumps of sugar and caramel, one shouldn't be served with more powdered sugar. Much less a tub of Nutella - maybe a shot of insulin? And the other is that this was cooked on the intersection of an iron meant to cook four waffles - meaning a significant portion of this waffles was burnt and inedible. The waffle itself was flabby and fragile, lacking the robust chew of a Liege waffle dough. All in all, this was more burnt candy than pastry. Still, though, there are no other regular Liege waffles offered in Houston, so, no competition, right?

Don't count out the chains.

The Jamba Juice Sweet Belgian Waffle (at IAH Terminal E). Has more calories than a smoothie, but one shouldn't be counting calories while having a Liege waffle anyway. 
Warmed gently in their toaster, this is a pretty reasonable example of a Liege waffle. It lacked the caramelization and strong texture of the Waffle Brothers, nonetheless, this was reminiscent of the Belgian original. Albeit blander, and a bit sweeter. Not unlike the relationship Panda Express has with Chinese food. Quite apropos to airport cuisine, come to think of it.

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